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KEF KHT2005.3 K1 Speaker System - KEF KHT2005.3 K1
Performance-wise, we got the ball rolling with Cloverfield on Blu-ray, and anyone who's heard this chaotic, expansive Dolby TrueHD soundtrack in action will know that it's a great test for any sound system - one which the KEF passes with flying colours.
During the opening party scenes, the flurry of chatter and background music envelops you, with half-heard effects like clinking glasses and footsteps making crisp cameos from the rear channels, while the warm, natural-sounding dialogue remains prominent.
But when the monster first makes his presence known, the system takes the dramatic dynamic shift in its stride and delivers the blast with floor-shaking force.
In the following few chapters, the system maintains these remarkable levels of energy and power, which makes for a gripping listen - the Statue of Liberty's head careers down the street with terse, crunching blows; the Empire State Building topples with a solid rumble, and when the monster smashes up the bridge, the system orchestrates the chaos brilliantly.
As the action hots up, the KEFs continue to dazzle. The Army's cacophony of rocket launchers, gunfire and yelling builds up to an immense wall of sound that we simply couldn't believe is being created by a sub-£1,000 system.
The moments of quietness between the action gives the subwoofer a rest and gives the sats a chance to display their prowess. As the group sits in the subway, the clearly conveyed background effects maintain the impending sense of doom, while echoes and ambience are deftly handled as they walk down the tunnel.
There are more strings to the system's bow. The tonally matched sats integrate beautifully and hand over deep bass duties to the agile sub with all the well-drilled smoothness of the Jamaican relay team, while top-end frequencies are delivered without a hint of hardness.
We're also impressed by the sats' power-handling capabilities - pushed really hard with the Denon AVR-2310, there are no signs that the speakers are straining or losing their grip on the high-frequencies. This, combined with the expansive rears, allows the KEFs to easily fill the room despite their diminutive dimensions.
With music it's much the same story. The system perfectly conveys the euphoria in Coldplay's Life In Technicolor ii through the sats' inherent dynamism and detail. There's a very appealing balance across the sonic frequencies that makes the sound warm and cohesive.
We were highly impressed by the original version of the KHT2005.3 system and our opinion hasn't changed a bit, even with the addition of a less potent subwoofer. It delivers a virtuoso performance with both movies and music, showing a level of sophistication and sonic dexterity that belies its £700 price tag.
Some might not see the point of launching this new system when the KUBE-2 package is already so effective - particularly as there's very little difference in price between the two - but whichever one you choose you won't be disappointed.
Scores In Detail